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Homocysteine (Hcy) is a sulphur-containing intermediate product of methionine metabolism. Hcy is further metabolised by vitamin B12- or B6-dependent pathways (Stanger and others 2003). In people, hyperhomocysteinaemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular, thrombotic, neurodegenerative, pregnancy-associated diseases (Stanger and others 2003, Refsum and others 2004), and it is a sensitive marker of vitamin B12 deficiency consequent to malabsorption (Papa and others 2001), although its specificity is low, since Hcy increases in several pathophysiologic conditions, including folate deficiency (Stanger and others 2003). No information about the association between hypocobalaminaemia and hyperhomocysteinaemia in dogs is available.
The aim of this study was to assess whether serum levels of Hcy are increased in dogs with gastrointestinal disorders and hypocobalaminaemia compared with dogs with gastrointestinal disorders not associated with hypocobalaminaemia.
Toward this aim, 17 serum samples from dogs with symptoms consistent with gastrointestinal disease, referred to the author's institutions for diagnostic or therapeutic procedures associated with gastrointestinal disease were analysed. According to the guidelines of the Animal Care and Use Committee of our institution, it was not necessary to require a formal approval for the study, since all the dogs were sampled under informed consent of the owner, during diagnostic procedures.
The only inclusion criterion was the presence of clinical (vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss), and histopathological findings (presence of inflammatory infiltrates of different type and magnitude in the intestinal wall) consistent with gastrointestinal disorders potentially associated with malabsorbtion and hypocobalaminaemia. Based on a previous report …